day three: the long walk up
today represented a new kind of challenge; the mental challenge. while kilimanjaro isn't a technical climb, there's a tendancy for some (including myself!) to assume it's easy. but there's a few curve balls which do increase the challenge factor. for me, these were:
1. the altitude. makes everything harder/impossible
2. walking higher, sleeping lower. today we climbed to 4600m, but slept at 3800m. it's a common technique to allow you to adjust to the altitude, in which you climb higher during the day, then come back down to sleep. it sounds great, but think of the reality of pumping those little pegs up, up, up - hanging out for a bit, then slogging out downhill - only to realise you'll be heading back up in the morning. makes you hate your guides just a little bit.
3. board shorts man. one of the boys on our climb had a love of board shorts, which he wore whenever weather permitted. after the climb he was doing a marathon - the next day. while the rest of us were puffing away, he would make a point of stretching loudly, with a sigh. you can imagine the type.
the worst crime of all, however, even more so than wearing board shorts on a mountain - was that he never walked on the path. perhaps it was the altitude/physical/mental tole but it literally started driving me crazy. i've always believed that when you're in nature, you need to respect it. that includes, when a path has been carved into ground, you stick to it, to avoid further damaging the environment. mister board shorts man, however, would roam along the mountain, and everytime i watched his oversized hiking boots crush another plant, a little light of enthusiasm dimmed. by the end of the day, my will was gone. i went to bed listening to meditation in my ipod. thank god it helped.
The good news: we arrived to camp and we were literally above the clouds. Absolutely stunning!
Tough factor: 8/10